Like the rest of the world, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) celebrated the annual Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July 2022. However, the format followed was different.
The Department of Marketing and Communication at MUT ran a week-long programme. Speakers delivered speeches on MUT Radio, on themes that were dear to Mandela. These themes included education, sports, and arts. Speakers explained how President Mandela used these themes to unite the divided South African nation, in pursuit of social cohesion.
The first speaker, Bheki Hlophe, Media Relations and Publications Officer at MUT, emphasized how President Mandela used sport to unite a divided South African nation. Hlophe said Mandela was aware that Sport was a human activity that appealed to everyone, irrespective of their race, colour, and political affiliation.
“Mandela used a very soft touch approach. When he went to Ellis Park in 1995 to watch the Rugby World Cup final, wearing South African captain Francois Pienaar’s number 6 jersey, and FNB stadium the following year, wearing Soccer captain, Neil Tovey’s jersey number 9, he was making a strong statement that everyone should enjoy Sport, and be friends with one another. He made it clear that Sport could take away the sting that politics has,” said Hlophe.
Hlophe also pointed out that President Mandela’s statement suggested that the future of the country needed politicians to work together as servants of the people, not as adversaries.
“Mandela made it clear that Sport was an outlet to take the hot steam that other human activities have. Sport provides a common ground for people on opposing political formations. Some South African politicians are known to favour certain soccer clubs. The late Dr Ben Ngubane was a known Orlando Pirates supporter. President Mandela himself was an amateur boxer and loved boxing. His favourite boxer was Jacob Matlala.
In his speech on 21 July 2022, Vusumuzi Mhlongo, the Principal of Velabahleke High School at Umlazi Township, highlighted how Mandela emphasized the importance of education. Mhlongo reminded the listeners that as much as they may have achieved political liberation, they needed to focus on education, so they could get meaningful employment, or create jobs. Education can help them take care of their bread and butter issues, Mhlongo said.
“Education gives people the independence that makes their lives meaningful and enjoyable,” Mhlongo said.
As fitting to Mandela, the University also hosted Noziphiwo Gcumisa, a woman who has been testing young maidens’ virginity for seven years. Gcumisa talked about the importance of abstinence from sex. She said this shields young women from sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies. Gcumisa said it was important for young women to focus on their studies, and plan their lives properly. She reminded the listeners that Mandela loved children, and encouraged them to put education first.
Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communication at MUT, said the long programme was meant to have a maximum impact on the MUT Radio listeners.
“We wanted the listeners to reflect on what President Mandela taught all of us. His lessons should shape our lives, and contribute in making the future of humanity brighter,” said Mkhize.